Food waste in the United States is estimated at between 30-40% of the supply, 60% of which could have been avoided if people would learn ways to reduce crop waste. This is not only bad for the environment, but it’s also bad for your bottom line if you’re trying to make an income from growing this food. Produce that goes to waste before it ever reaches the market is bad for your pocket so you must find a way to reduce crop waste. Putting systems in place to reduce crop waste or repurposing excess crops to fill a gap in the feed chain are some of your most obvious options.
Reduce Crop Waste
A feed mill is a feed pellet manufacturing system that can convert nutritious crops that could otherwise be headed for the compost heap. This can be a profitable side business for you if you can cater to the nutrition needs of your local market. Even weeds like comfrey and nettle can add vital vitamins and minerals to a batch. To continue running a feed mill efficiently, you may need to employ an extra hand to do the manual loading and packing so you can focus on the day-to-day managing of your homestead.
Schedule Is Everything
Whether you are a large-scale homesteader or you are just starting with a few small garden beds growing produce, your timing is critical. The next step in learning how to reduce crop waste in your home is to assess market prospects for crops that can be grown in your environment and conditions. A painful way to waste time, money, and food, would be to plant something that may die off halfway through the season, or just not thrive, because the conditions you are growing in aren’t compatible with the needs of your chosen plants.
Reduce Harvest Waste
Having your produce out of the field and into storage as quickly as possible should be your primary goal during harvest. If this process is not completed quickly and efficiently, the amount of food waste that can pile up during this time can be disastrous for your homestead’s long-term success. When thinking about how to upgrade your harvesting methods, investing in the most up-to-date machinery can be a much more cost-effective use of your time and money than hiring additional manpower. This, in part, is thanks to today’s developments in agricultural technology.
Produce lost between harvest and delivery is another major cause of food waste. Most of today’s successful solutions to this problem are luckily not costly. Before being filled, your new storage facilities should be properly washed and disinfected. This will greatly reduce the risk of pollution and aid in the prevention of disease spread in your crops.
To keep your crops from spoiling, your storage units must have sufficient ventilation, as well as the ability to regulate temperature, humidity, and air circulation. Be sure that only produce that needs the same temperature and humidity levels are kept together. Keep high ethylene-producing crops, such as apples, away from those that are sensitive to ethylene, like lettuce, carrots, and potatoes. Storing them together would likely lead to the more sensitive crops spoiling.
With a little imagination and ability, creating an ultra-efficient homestead is easy. You’ll discover time-saving methods for doing chores and business, while also emphasizing environmental stewardship. There can be no homesteads without a stable planet, and everybody has a role to play in preserving natural resources. Make sure to learn new ways to reduce crop waste on your homestead and make a difference with the planet at the same time.
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